A tummy tuck is an outpatient cosmetic surgery procedure designed to tighten weak abdominal muscles and remove excess skin and fat to flatten the abdomen. Results can be quite dramatic, restoring a more athletic and youthful body shape. There are several reasons that men and women in Southwestern Michigan have a tummy tuck. Those reasons include massive weight loss, pregnancy, and aging.
A tummy tuck can be performed alone or with other cosmetic procedures. When a tummy tuck is combined with a breast procedure, such as a breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction, it’s called a Mommy Makeover—even though you don’t need to be a mommy to have one! A tummy tuck can also be combined with liposuction to eliminate pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise.
It’s normal, as we age, for our muscles to loosen and for our skin to sag. The amount of sagging varies from person to person and is affected by your DNA and your lifestyle habits, such as exercise, tobacco use, weight fluctuations, etc.
There are two types of the tummy tuck procedure: the full tummy tuck and the mini tummy tuck. The difference between them is that the mini tummy tuck focuses on the area from the pubic bone to the belly button, and the full tummy tuck treats the entire abdominal area. The mini tummy tuck can be designed also to tighten the abdominal muscles, but it doesn’t remove as much fat and skin.
Health insurance won’t pay for a tummy tuck because, by nature, it’s a cosmetic procedure. Sometimes, after massive weight loss, a health insurance provider will pay for a panniculectomy, which removes the overhanging apron of skin and fat, but doesn’t tighten the muscles in the tummy and it doesn’t remove any loose skin or fat in the upper tummy area. For massive weight loss patients, a panniculectomy improves the appearance, but falls far short of the improvement that would be experienced in a tummy tuck.
If I think you’re a good candidate for insurance coverage for a panniculectomy, I will let you know at your tummy tuck consultation at one of my two Southwestern Michigan plastic surgery locations. If that is the case, we’ll submit photos and background information to your health insurance company and wait for their response. If the insurance company approves of the panniculectomy, you can leave it at that or pay the difference between the panniculectomy and a tummy tuck, and have a complete tummy tuck.
If you’re a healthy adult man or woman with realistic goals for your improved appearance, you’re probably a good candidate. If you plan to have more children, I recommend that you delay your tummy tuck procedure until you’ve completed your family because your body will be affected by pregnancy, and the benefits of your tummy tuck will be undone.
At Southwest Michigan Plastic Surgery, my staff and I are 100% committed to your awareness of all your options, so you can make an informed decision regarding your tummy tuck—or any other—procedure.
There is actually only one choice. A tummy tuck incision runs “hip to hip,” and I place it as far down on the abdominal wall as possible, in the area called the “bikini” line. The incision is placed as low as possible so that the final scar could be hidden by panties or swimwear.
You’ll be sore both in the front and back of your abdomen after your tummy tuck procedure, and you’ll discover that keeping your knees bent when sitting in a recliner or in bed is the most comfortable. Walking bent over is the only way you’ll be able to get around at first. You’ll be tempted to stay in bed, but walking is the best thing you can do to reduce swelling, speed healing and clear your head. At first, you’ll walk only to and from the bathroom but on day 2 you need to walk around the house, expanding that over the first week to walking outside, weather permitting. You’ll become best friends with your compression garment, taking it off only to let the skin “breathe” and shower. Your drains won’t hurt but they will feel cumbersome and in the way when you shower, but they’re worth the irritation, as they funnel out all that extra fluid that would otherwise hamper your lovely, flat result.
Pain will be an issue for the first few days. I will give you prescriptions for pain medication at your pre-op appointment. Please fill them. If you take them, you’ll feel better but you’re likely to be constipated, which can be uncomfortable. Drink as much liquid as you can manage, stay away from fried foods and anything that constipates you. It is generally advisable to take a fiber based stool softener like Metamucil or Benafiber to help with constipation during the recovery period.
You will see me in my Southwest Michigan plastic surgery office within 1-2 days after your tummy tuck and weekly thereafter. During the first 6-8 weeks after your tummy tuck, you will need to avoid strenuous exercise and any heavy lifting. That includes children, grocery bags and the like!
A tummy tuck can do wonders for the way you see yourself, as well as the way others see you. Your clothes will fit better, and you’ll feel younger and happier with your new silhouette. If this is something that you’ve been thinking about doing, come in and see me. Maybe now is the time!